One-third? Jim Buchta of the Strib says, “By nearly every indication, the housing market in the Twin Cities now is humming along and, in some parts of the metro area, prices are breaking records. But one-third of all Twin Cities-area homeowners are effectively underwater on their mortgage, meaning they have enough equity to cover their mortgage, but not enough to sell their house and move to a different one. That’s why so many would-be sellers are staying put.”
Is this another one of those fiscally conservative, personal accountability guys? Dan Browning of the Strib reports, “Jonathan Aanestad is a longtime Minnesota political consultant with a past he’d like to put behind him. Aanestad wants to wipe away nearly $1.3 million in debt, a sizable portion of which is owed to lawyers who have represented him over the years on civil matters stemming from a neighborhood feud. … John Stoebner, a Minneapolis attorney appointed as an impartial administrator to oversee the bankruptcy petition, said he has received tips that Aanestad might be hiding assets. ‘There are allegations that he ran a lot of money through one or more of his business entities, so we’re asking for bank accounts, or bank statements, and canceled checks for various entities’, Stoebner said. Stoebner said he discovered an Audi A6 registered to Aanestad that he had not declared.”
He made it to Illinois. KARE-TV reports, “A Level 3 sex offender who fled Minnesota is behind bars again after being captured in Illinois Thursday. The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) says Rico Ronondo Rodriguez was located at an apartment building in Belleville, Illinois and arrested without incident. A national warrant for Rodriguez’s arrest was issued October 26 after he cut off a GPS device and fled a halfway house in Minneapolis … .”
Make sure the tikes are sleeping safe. KMSP-TV’s story says, “A Minnesota Department of Health analysis of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) in 2014 found that of the 56 babies who died, 52 were in an unsafe sleep environment, the department confirmed Thursday. … According to the analysis, about half were sharing a sleep surface, such as a bed or sofa or recliner with another person. The other half was in an unsafe sleep position like being placed on their side or tummy, loose objects around them such as pillows or blankets, or was not sleeping on a firm surface.”
No clear path for teacher licensing. In the PiPress, Christopher Magan says, “Minnesota lawmakers received conflicting reports Thursday on the progress the state Board of Teaching has made in its efforts to streamline the way teachers are licensed. … Rhyddid Watkins and Nathan Sellers, lawyers for a group of teachers who sued the teaching board in April over the state’s licensing process, said the board has not heeded lawmakers’ repeated calls to improve the system.”
Who doesn’t want a “wow” roof? Jaime Delage of the PiPress says, “The Minnesota Wild are looking for a little help to make their proposed downtown St. Paul practice rink a reality: more ice skaters. Team officials attended an evening cocktail hour Tuesday at the Public Kitchen and Bar in Lowertown where they provided an informal overview of their plans to move practices to a rooftop rink on the vacant Macy’s department store building. They said that if the St. Paul Port Authority’s partnership with the Excelsior-based Oppidan development firm moves forward as planned, they could be practicing in a glass-walled rink atop the Macy’s building by the 2017 season, but more likely in 2018.”
Venison for breakfast. Says Greta Stark of the Forum News Service, “A River Falls bar had an unexpected early morning visitor Tuesday. A whitetail deer jumped through a windows at Junior’s Bar and Restaurant, shattering it and scattering glass across the room. ‘It decided to join us for dinner,’ joked Junior’s Restaurant co-owner Cory Hart. More like breakfast. River Falls police officer Beth Posel said the buck jumped through the window at about 7:25 a.m.” But did it pass a breathalyzer test?
There was a time when Rand was one of those “out there” characters. In the PiPress Rachel Stassen-Berger writes, “Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul will drop by two Minnesota college campuses and an Eagles Club on Monday, according to invitations released by his campaign on Facebook and elsewhere. Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, will visit the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus in the morning, its Duluth campus in the afternoon and the Rochester Eagles Club in the late afternoon. He will also have a fundraiser in Orono in the evening. Paul, who is toward the back of the pack of Republican presidential polling, has raised about $42,000 so far from Minnesotans, according to Federal Election Commission data.” Apparently Sheldon Adelson isn’t taking his calls.
Also, Mother Strib still likes Ranked Choice Voting. “Duluth voters seem to have been sold by two arguments against RCV that we find questionable. One was that RCV is too complicated. If that were so, Minneapolis voters would have clamored to drop RCV after the 2013 election, which used that method and featured a messy 35-candidate mayoral race. Instead, an exit poll conducted by FairVote Minnesota, an RCV advocacy group, found five out of six respondents reporting that the ranking method of voting was either very or somewhat easy to use.”
You can’t fill up your boat and snow machine with stars, pal. Emily Guerin at Prairie Public Broadcasting says, “It’s getting harder to see the stars in North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and it’s due to flares, drilling rigs and all the lights from the Bakken oilfield. Since 2010, scientists with the National Park Service have measured a 500 percent increase in the amount of anthropogenic light there — no other national park in America has seen such a rapid increase in light pollution.” The night time satellite shots look like LA has moved to North Dakota.
Friday’s a big day for that Highway 53 bridge project up in Virginia. John Myers of the Forum News Service says, “State and local officials are set to gather Friday on the Iron Range for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $230 million project to relocate U.S. 53 in Virginia. They’re expected to herald the new highway at the curling club in Eveleth to mark the start of construction that engineers say will take two years. The highway must be moved because Cliffs Natural Resources wants to expand its United Taconite Thunderbird mine onto land where the current highway now sits.”